Learn To Compete With Your Partner, Not Against: Hot Top 10K Recap

by TaylorR

The Battle Of The Boyles has come to an end.

And we still love each other…

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This past Saturday, Dan and I raced the Hot Top 10K, just outside of Charlotte.

For months and months we have been tossing out fighting words, getting each other prepped for the their ultimate loss.

You see, I’m competitive. Dan’s competitive. And together, we’re a competitive couple… with each other.

Dan’s not a runner, but he’s athletic as hell and basically can become amazing at whatever sporting event he chooses after a short training period.

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Me? I have to work at it. Like, really, really hard. I’m not a natural runner, I’ve had to train to get the speed that I have.

Not Dan.

So, considering the fact that he actually trained for this race, I was a bit nervous going in. Can he beat me? Does he have it in him?

Nah…

At least that’s what 90% of our clients were saying.

Yes, there were bets going on. Luckily, most of them were on Team Taylor.

Crowders Mountain – Hot Top 10K

Since the race was just outside of Charlotte, we headed up on Friday. It was great because we were able to meet up with my friend Andrea (ImPerfectLife) and her husband for dinner and a cocktail at the US Whitewater Rafting Center.

andrea-imperfect-me

We had a great time and eventually had to cut off our conversation so Dan and I could find our hotel before the sun set completely. I just hated that we weren’t able to do anything there… next time!

Luckily our hotel wasn’t hard to find, it was just 10 minutes from the start of the race. Courtyard Marriott never disappoints us!

As for the race…

Going into it, I had the upper hand. I raced it last year, I knew what to expect. What horror layed ahead of us on the 6.2 miles worth of trails.

Dan didn’t.

Crowder’s Mountain is one of the highest mountains around Charlotte, it’s gorgeous… but steep!

On the flip side, I have also been dealing with some running issues.

My confidence as a runner has been low. My speed isn’t where it was last year, my training isn’t where it was last year (working on this), and my weight isn’t where it was last year… would my 10 pounds slow me down?

As a sprinter, weight gain can help as you have more muscle to propel yourself foward. For long distance, it can hurt.

Race morning came far too quickly and we made an early bird run to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast wraps.

After a few hours of waking up, stretching and going through the “runner’s ritual” we headed off to Crowders Mountain.

Hot Top 10K Trail Race

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning! The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze in the air, and the energy from the other runners was high.

I love Go Run Trails(who puts on this race) because the races are small and the same faces come. It was like seeing my running friends again!

One face I didn’t expect to see? My client, Kayo! She drove up from Charleston with her husband to race this as her first trail run! I was so surprised and excited for her.

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Right at 9am, the runners lined up and the air horn sounded for us to go.

Dan and I took off at our own paces up the mountain.

I say up because the first 1.8 miles is nothing but a climb to the top.

Oh my gosh… the burn. I did great for the first mile, not stopping to walk and I even remember thinking, “this isn’t so bad!” Then the incline increased and I gave in to the butt burn. At this point I was able to look over and see that Dan was only about 40 yards behind me.

I did my best to keep that distance between us but once at top, faced with 300 stairs going down, he caught up. Because of my knee, I suck at stairs. I’m slow and shaky. I wasn’t surprised when he ended up finishing just behind me.

Learning To Run With Your Partner, Not Against

Once at the bottom of the stairs, the trail turns off the main path and goes into the woods where we were greeted by switch backs, rocks, and rolling hills. It was hard.

Dan and I kept up together, I would lead, then he would lead.

At first, it was still a competition, but suddenly something changed.

We began running together, supporting each other.

He would stop running to walk an incline (something I try not to do) and I would do it with him.

I would stop to shake my legs out and he would stop with me.

If there was a stumble, we were there to ask the “are you okay?”

Instead of fighting words, we were giving each other support. Finally, with about a mile left, we asked the all important question…

Are we going to finish side by side?

Yes, we both agreed we would. And to be honest, I loved it.

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Sorry for the blurry action shot…

It wasn’t the best race for me, but it was the best race for us. It was awesome to give each other high 5’s at the end instead of one person doing the “I won, I won” dance in front of the loser.

Just like in our marriage, we were a team.

And that teamwork helped me to get 1st in my age group (okay, it was a small crowd but still)!

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How To Race Successfully With Your Spouse

I’m not saying that every race/event we do together will go so smoothly. I’m sure there will be races where I’ll want to race the field a bit harder, or Dan will. But for this race, it was one for the books.

This is the 2nd hardest race of my trail running that I’ve ever done (this one was) so running with my man helped make it fun and more bearable!

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Here’s how…

Know when to push and when to hold back.

When Dan wanted to walk the inclines, I didn’t discourage him. I didn’t give him attitude and tell him to push through. I knew that was his plan, and I didn’t nag him about it. I held back.

Just like when I needed to shake out my legs and give my knee a quick rub, he didn’t roll his eyes, or tell me to suck it up. Instead, he asked if I was okay, and waited for me to give the go signal.

You know your spouse/significant other… so you know when you can push them and when it’s best to go with what they want to do to help keep moral up and frustration low.

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Talk about your goals.

Make sure to be clear with one another what you each want to get out of the race.

If you’re trying to PR and your spouse isn’t as fast as you, then don’t even try to race together. That will only up the stress and cause resentment to build up between the two of you as you try to make him/her go faster than he/she can!

Turn down for what the music.

For the first 3 miles, I was listening to a podcast (just in 1 ear) to keep my mind off the never ending muscle burn.

But when we began running as a team, I turned the podcast off, turned on my music and lowered the volume so it was more of a background noise. I was able to hear Dan anytime he asked a question (I had on a GPS) or gave words of encouragement.

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If you aren’t able to hear each other, then you won’t run as a team.

Be your partner’s ultimate fan.

I didn’t race as well as I would have liked, my muscles felt tight, at times my breathing too heavy, but I didn’t care. I was proud of Dan and that made me proud of us.

At the finish line, instead of fuming on my less than stellar run, I had a grin on my face that went from one ear to the other because I was so proud of my husband. He pulled off an amazing race at one of the hardest trails.

And finishing side by side, well that was the icing on the cake. I’m actually glad I didn’t run my best because that brought us to change our game plan.

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I want to give a huge thank you to Go Run Trails for most of the pictures in this post. Obviously Dan was a bit preoccupied to be in charge of pictures, Thank you.

Now, I’m trying to decide on our next one!

Do you compete with your spouse?

 

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